Group ad­vo­cates not toy­ing with safety

Fid­get spin­ners, drones on hol­i­day WATCH list

Las Vegas Review-Journal - - NATION - The Associated Press

BOS­TON — Fid­get spin­ners, a plas­tic Won­der Woman bat­tle sword and a re­mote-con­trolled Spi­der-man drone are among the toys top­ping a con­sumer safety group’s an­nual list of worst toys for the holidays.

World Against Toys Caus­ing Harm, or WATCH, un­veiled the top 10 list Tues­day at a Bos­ton chil­dren’s hospi­tal. The non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tion has been re­leas­ing the lists for more than four decades.

WATCH claims fid­get spin­ners con­tain small parts that can be a chok­ing haz­ard, Mat­tel’s Won­der Woman sword has the po­ten­tial to cause blunt-force in­juries and Marvel’s Spi­der-man drone has mul­ti­ple ro­tat­ing blades that can lead to eye and other bod­ily in­juries.

The Toy As­so­ci­a­tion, an in­dus­try trade group, dis­missed the list as “need­lessly fright­en­ing” to par­ents be­cause all toys sold in the U.S. meet “rig­or­ous” safety stan­dards. It also crit­i­cized the or­ga­ni­za­tion for not test­ing the toys it fo­cuses on.

Na­tional toy safety stan­dards are “in­ad­e­quate,” as can been seen by the high num­ber of re­calls each year, WATCH Pres­i­dent Joan Siff said.

The non­profit says there have been at least 15 re­calls rep­re­sent­ing nearly 2 mil­lion units of dan­ger­ous toys since De­cem­ber.

Siff stressed the toys named each year have com­mon haz­ards that the group sees year af­ter year. She pointed to the “Pull Along Pony” by Tolo Toys that’s mar­keted for chil­dren over age 1 but has a 19-inch cord.

“We don’t need a test­ing lab to know that’s a stran­gu­la­tion and en­tan­gle­ment haz­ard,” she said.

With con­sumers in­creas­ingly do­ing their hol­i­day shop­ping on­line, it’s more im­por­tant than ever to have the most cur­rent in­for­ma­tion about the safety of a toy on­line, Siff said.

For ex­am­ple, Hall­mark’s Dis­ney-themed “Itty Bit­tys” plush stack­ing toy for ba­bies was re­called over the sum­mer due to fab­ric pieces that posed a chok­ing haz­ard. But the toy still is read­ily avail­able on­line be­cause many web sales are rarely mon­i­tored for re­calls, Siff noted.

Among the other toys that made this year’s list is Nerf ’s “Zom­bie Strike” cross­bow, which the or­ga­ni­za­tion says poses the risk of eye and face in­juries be­cause it uses a pres­sur­ized, pull back lever to shoot soft pro­jec­tiles.

Philip Marcelo

The Associated Press James Swartz, di­rec­tor of World Against Toys Caus­ing Harm, or WATCH, demon­strates a safety con­cern with Nerf ’s “Zom­bie Strike” pres­sure-re­lease cross­bow dur­ing a news con­fer­ence Tues­day in Bos­ton.

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